Cox unveils 500-day plan for his administration

Governor Spencer Cox will focus on economic advancement, investment in education, meeting rural community needs, health security, and equality and opportunity for all Utahns during his first 500 days in office, according to a plan released by his office Tuesday. The “One Utah Roadmap” was developed in cooperation with more than 100 community leaders across Utah, and outlines six key policy areas the newly elected governor plans on prioritizing in the next year and a half.


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Among these leaders were Lynne Ward, former deputy chief of staff to Gov. Olene Walker, Steve Starks, CEO of the Larry H. Miller Group of Companies, Natalie Gochnour, director of the Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah, Rich McKeown, co-founder of Leavitt Partners and Austin Cox, campaign manager of the Cox-Henderson campaign.

“We’re overwhelmed by the generous time and commitment offered by such accomplished experts and community-minded volunteers,” Cox said. “Like all well-used road maps, this One Utah Roadmap will be dog-eared and lovingly consulted over the next year and beyond. The road ahead will have detours, yield signs, fast and slow speeds, and bridges which we will navigate. We can’t thank all those involved in the transition enough for offering their best ideas to improve the lives of all Utahns.” 

Cox plans to improve health security, citing a central goal of combatting COVID-19. He plans to swiftly execute a vaccine strategy, hire and train more community health workers, implement more testing, develop emergency health response policy and will be prudent with Utah’s CARES Act funds.

The administration will address barriers to health care by working to provide more mental and physical health staff in schools, expanding mental health-focused telehealth services, improve health care cost transparency and maintain the Rural Physician Loan Repayment Program and Health Care Worker Financial Assistance Program.

Cox will pursue value-based care and transparency, enabling Utahns to make informed decisions regarding their health care. He will focus on bringing providers and payers together to better inform patients and help Utahns save for health care needs using Health Savings Accounts. The governor will also address social determinants of health, outlining his plan to identify and invest in services that affect social determinants of health and develop a statewide health equity plan.

He will also work to make health care more equitable for Utahns, with plans to ensure access for all children in these states and enhance mental health resources that are inclusive of LGBTQIA+ individuals and their families.

In addition to health security, Cox lays out five other priority categories in his plan:

Economic advancement

Cox’s plan to improve Utah’s economy will involve talent development among Utah’s workforce, which the administration plans to achieve by giving displaced workers training and jobs, directing more state funds to technical and vocational training, initiating more collaborations between the state and specific industries in the private sector and incentivizing corporations to give students more experiential learning opportunities. He wants Utah to become globally known as the “Start-Up-State,” calling for the development of an Innovation District at the Point of the Mountain.

Education innovation and investment

Cox wants to increase funding for education through maintenance of the Teacher and Student Success Account and monitoring funding for Utah schools. He plans to ensure broadband internet and computers for every student attending class from home. The administration will strive to make post-secondary education the norm, working to connect technical institutions, colleges and universities and provide them with needed support.

Rural Matters

The administration will work to grow and diversify Utah’s rural economy by increasing broadband access, promoting rural tourism and funding employment expansion in rural areas. It also plans to invest in the state’s rural infrastructure, with plans to install a pipeline at Lake Powell, an inland port and rural satellite sites, infrastructure for charging electric vehicles and the Uintah Railway.

Equality and opportunity

Cox will support the Utah Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Compact and designate an equality and opportunity advisor to his administration. He will also ensure that his gubernatorial staff are diverse and representative of Utah’s population. He plans to expand opportunities for people who have historically had less access to it, such as women, people of color and LGBTQIA+ individuals.

Streamline and modernize state government

Cox plans to implement a state government structure that increases operational efficiencies and public services. He will assess and deploy structure refinements throughout the state government, track and measure customer services experiences with the government and link budgets for certain departments with performance measures.